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Blessings crown the head of the righteous, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. (Proverbs 10:6)

The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. (Proverbs 11:18)

Soon after my wife and I married, a securities dealer challenged us to invest in some over-the-counter stock. This, our first experience in “investing” a little of our hard-earned money turned out to be pain­fully unrewarding. Now that the pain is gone, we can laugh about the line the salesman used to get us to sign on the dotted line: “You can only make two mistakes—not buying any and not buying enough.” We made both mistakes! The twenty-dollar stock we eventually gave away at fifty cents a share.

Sometimes, I think we believers doubt the return on our investment in godliness—that maybe it isn’t that all that great. We see so many who scoff at God and seem to prosper. We say to ourselves, “I deny myself all of these worldly pleasures and opportunities, and what do I get? Pie in the sky in the sweet by and by?” Not if the book of Proverbs can be believed.

God has put in black and white the blessings He holds in store for the right-living person who makes wise choices…and the list is incredible. The verse above describes the blessings as crowning the head of the righteous. That means being blessed royally.

Principle: To doubt that the rewards God provides for trust and obedience in this life will be ample is to doubt God’s very character and the trustworthiness of His promises to us. It insults Him.

About those people who live like the devil and seem to prosper like gods…the Scriptures are not silent. Nowhere does God say that evil people won’t make out like bandits…for a while. Time is the arbiter of who really gets the rewards. Proverbs makes it clear that in the long run things will turn to blessing for the right-living person and to disaster for the evil person. The problem with this teaching for Americans is that we want it all now. God isn’t in the instant-winner business.

Principle: There is a good reason God has a time-delay factor in His reward system. It takes time for the really clever evil-doers and the talk-but-no-walk Christians to show their true colors, but for the righteous, God’s rewards are worth the wait.

The list of promises in Proverbs alone is impressive. Read this list of blessings: staying power in society (2:21), blessing on home and family (3:33), deliverance from death (10:2), protection from hunger (10:3), a legacy of honorable remembrance (10:7), wealth without the problems that come with ill-gotten gain (10:22), an inheritance to leave for children and grandchildren (13:22), and protection for home and family (14:11). Why, that’s better than Social Security and Medicare!

Principle: When the enemy whispers that the wise, righteous life is a losing proposition, shout at him that he must not have read the last chapter of the Book that describes the Award Ceremony.